Revision Notes History Class 10 Chapter 5 Print Culture and the Modern World

Important Dates to Remember

  • 594 CE: Books in China were printed by rubbing paper against the inked surface of woodblocks.
  • 768-770 CE: Hand printing technology was intro- duced in Japan.
  • 868 CE: The first Japanese book, ‘The Diamond Sutra’ was printed.
  • 11th Century: Paper reached Europe from China.
  • 1439-1440: Marco Polo brought the knowledge of producing books with woodblocks to Europe from China.
  • 1448 CE: Johann Gutenberg invented the Printing Press.
  • 1450-1550 AD: Printing Press set up in most countries of Europe.
  • 1517 CE: Religious reformer Martin Luther printed ‘Ninety-Five Theses’, criticizing many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church, starting the ‘Protestant Reformation’.
  • 1558 CE: The Roman Church began maintaining an index of prohibited books.
  • 1710: The Dutch Protestant Missionaries had printed 32 Tamil texts.
  • 1780: James August us Hickey began to edit the ‘Bengal Gazette’, a weekly magazine.
  • 1810: The first printed edition of the Ramcharit- manas written by Tulsidas came out from Calcutta.
  • 1822: Two Persian newspapers ‘Jam-e-Jahan Nama’ and ‘Shamsul Akhbar’ was published.
  • 1867: Deoband Seminary was founded.
  • 1878: The Vernacular Press Act was passed in India.
  • 1880: Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote about the miserable lives of upper-caste Hindu women, especially widows.
  • 1926: Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, an educationist and literary figure, strongly condemned men for withholding education from women.
  • 1907: Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy about Punjab revolutionaries in his newspaper “Kesari”.

Important Personalities

  • Gutenberg: He was a German goldsmith and inventor, credited with the invention of the movable type printing in Europe. Isaac Newton, Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Scientists and thinkers.
  • Bronte Sisters: They are well known as poets and novelists.
  • James Augustus Hicky: He was an Irishman who launched the first printed newspaper in India, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette.
  • Raja Ravi Varma: He was also known as ‘The Father of Modern Indian Art. He was an Indian painter of the 18th century who attained fame and recognition for portraying scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
  • Kailashbashini Debi : She wrote books highlight- ing the experiences of women, about how women were imprisoned at home, kept in ignorance, forced to do hard domestic labour and treated unjustly by the menfolk they served.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak: He started the newspaper named Kesari.

Important Terms

  • Woodblock: It is a form of relief printing and is based on the principle that parts that are not to be printed are cut out. Instead colours are pressed on the raised parts, applied like a relief and this would then be rubbed onto a piece of paper or pushed through the press, in which case, the reliefs would be reversed.
  • Calligraphy: It is an ancient writing technique using flat edged pens to create artistic lettering using thick and thin lines depending on the direction of the stroke.
  • Diamond Sutra: The oldest Japanese book printed in AD 868 containing six sheets of texts and woodcut illustrations.
  • Print Revolution: The shift from hand printing to mechanical printing is known as the print revolution.
  • Hand Printing: Printed, or put on a surface by hand rather than by machine.
  • Penny Magazines: They were illustrated magazines which were read extensively by working class and women in 19th century Britain. They dealt with teaching proper manners and techniques related to housekeeping for women.
  • Cylindrical Press: A printing press in which a rotating cylinder rolls the paper against a printing surface lying on a flat usually horizontal reciprocating bed.
  • Manuscript: Book or document written by hand. It can also be termed as the original copy – hand- written or typed but not printed.
  • Vernacular language: It refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by the inhabiting people of a particular country or region.
  • Ulama: A body of Muslim scholars who are recognized as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology.
  • Vernacular Press Act: Vernacular Press Act enacted in 1878s in British India was to curtail the freedom of the Indian language press.


Different forms of print materials:-

  • Books, News Papers, Magazines, Journal, Diaries, Calendars, Cinema Poster, Prints of famous painters.

The history of print:-

  • Beginning in East Asia.
  • Expansion- In Europe and India.
  • The earliest kind of print technology developed in China, Japan and Korea.
  • First book was printed in AD 594 onwards in China.

China in the 17th Century:-

  • Urban cultural bloomed.
  • The uses of print diversified.
  • Reading became a leisure activity.
  • Different forms of literary works like- poetry, romantic plays etc.
  • Women began publishing their poetry and plays.
  • Imported western printing techniques and mechanical press.
  • Shanghai became the hub of the new print culture.
  • Gradual shift of hand printings to mechanical printings.

Print in Japan:-

  • Introduced- Buddhist missionaries from China.
  • Year- Around AD 768 – 770
  • The oldest Japanese book – Diamond Sutra
  • Started printing of visual materials.
  • Illustrated collections of paintings at Edo (Tokyo).

Print comes to Europe:-

  • Reached from China through Marco Polo in 1295.
  • Written on expensive Vellum.
  • Vellum- A parchment made from the skin of animals.

Defects of hand written manuscripts:-

  • Could not satisfy the ever-increasing demands for books.
  • Copying was time consuming and expensive.
  • Fragile, difficult to handle.
  • Could not to be read easily.
  • Circulation remain limited.
  • Could not be carried around.

Johann Gutenberg:-

  • Inventor of first mechanical printing machine.
  • Son of merchant from- Strasbourg (Germany).
  • The first book he printed- ‘the Bible’ (180 copies).
  • It took three years to produce.
  • By the standards of that time, this was fast production.

Prints revolution and its impacts:-

     A new reading public:-

  • A new reading public emerged.
  • Printing reduced the cost and time of the books.
  • Books flooded the market.
  • Multiple copies could be produced with great ease.
  • Books could reach wide sections people.
  • On the place of hearing public now a reading public came into being.
  • Those who could not read, certainly enjoy listening to books being read out.
  • Mingling of hearing public and reading public.

Religious debates and the fear of print:-

  • Starting of discussions and debates on religious matters.
  • Fear of print and criticism.
  • Attack on Catholic Church by Martin Luther for their rituals.
  • Beginning of the protestant reformation.

Martin Luther:-

  • German monk, priests, theologian and church performer.
  • He wrote 95 thesis criticizing many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).
  • A printed copy of this was posted on a church door in Wittenberg. It challenged the church to debate his ideas.
  • Luther said “printing is the ultimate gift of god and the greatest one”.

Print and dissent:-

  • Starting of interpretation of Bible.
  • Catholic Church started inquisition to repress heretical ideas.
  • Execution of Menocchio, (a miller in Italy) by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Maintain an index of prohibited books from 1558.

The Reading Mania:-

  • Literary rates increased.
  • Churches of different denominations started educational institutions in every nook and corner of Europe.
  • Reading habit increased.
  • The writings of thinkers such as Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau were also widely printed and read.

Merits of Book Written:-

  • Means of spreading progress and enlightenment.
  • Can change the world.
  • Liberate society from despotism and tyranny.
  • Created public opinion.

Print culture and French Revolution:-

  • Print popularized the idea of the enlightenment thinkers.
  • Print created a new culture of dialogue and debate.
  • By 1780 there was an outpouring of literature that mocked the royalty and criticized their morality.
  • Louise Sebastian Mercier (a novelist of France in 18th century), declared- “the printing press is the most powerful engine of progress, and public opinion is the force that will sweep despotism away”.

In 19th Century:-


  • Primary education became compulsory.
  • A children press was set up in France in 1857.
  • Published new works, old fairy tales and folk tales.
  • Grimm Brothers in Germany published collection of traditional folk tales in 1812.


  • Important readers as well as writers.
  • Important readers of novels.
  • Readers of penny magazines.
  • Penny- Manuel teaching of proper behavior and House-Keeping.
  • Best known women novelists- Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters and George Eliot.


  • Writers as well as readers.
  • Time for self-improvement and self-expression.
  • Write political tracts and autobiographies.

Further innovations:-

  • The press came to be made out of metal.
  • Power driven cylindrical press developed by Richard M. Hoe of New York. This was capable of printing 8000 sheets per hour.
  • The offset press was developed, which could print up to six colours at a time.
  • Developed electrically operated presses.


India and the world print

    Print comes to India:-

  • First printing press came to Goa with Portuguese missionaries in the mid 16th
  • Catholic priests Jesuit printed several Konkani tracts.
  • Many books were printed in Konkani and Kannada languages.
  • 1st Tamil book at Cochin in 1579.
  • 1st Malayalam book was printed in 1713.
  • From 1780, James Augustus Hickey to edit the Bengal Gazette, a weekly magazine that described itself as ‘a commercial paper open to all, but influenced by none’.
  • 1st Indian weekly Bengal Gazette brought out by Gangadhar Bhattacharya.

Religious reforms and public debates:-

  • Intense debates around religious issues.
  • New ideas emerged.
  • Intense controversies between social and religious reformers.
  • Ideas were printed in local languages especially in Bengal.
  • Ram Mohan Roy published- Sambad Kaumudi from 1821.
  • Hindu orthodox- Samachar Chandrika to oppose his ideas.
  • Persian Newspapers- Jam-i-Jahan Nama and Shamsul Akbar in 1822.
  • Bombay samachar in Gujarati in 1822.

Effects of public debates:-

  • Encouraged discussions, debates and controversies within and among different religions.
  • Connected communities and people in different parts of India.
  • Newspapers conveyed news from one place to another, creating pan-Indian identities.

Women and print:-

  • Women’s reading habit increased in middle class homes.
  • Liberal husbands and fathers began educating their womenfolk at home, and sent them to school also.
  • Rashsundari Debi– A young married girl in a very orthodox household, learnt to read in the secrecy of her kitchen. Later, she wrote her autobiography Amar Jiban which was published in 1876. It was the full length autobiography published in the Bengali language.

Women writers:-

  • Tarabai Shinde-  Maharashtra
  • Pandita Ramabai-  Maharashtra
  • Kailash Bashini Debi- Bengal

Main points discussed by women in early 20th century: –

  • Women’s education –    Widowhood and widow remarriage
  • The national movement –   Household and fashion lesson.

Social reformers:-

  • Jyotiba Phule– Pioneer of low Caste movements for Dalits. He wrote about the injustices of ‘Low Caste’ in his book ‘Gulamgiri’ in 1871.
  • R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra.
  • V. Ramaswamy Naicker in Madras (Pariyar).
  • Kashibaba- A Kanpur mill worker, wrote and published Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938.
  • Sudarshan Chakr (group of another mill worker) published in a collection called- Sacchi Kavitayen.

Print and Censorship:-

  • By the 1820s, Calcutta Supreme Court passed certain regulations to control press freedom.
  • In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. It provided extensive rights to government to censor reports. But nationalist newspapers grew in numbers.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote in favour of Punjab revolutionaries in Kesari in 1907.

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